“The Hawk” – James Hill’s little-known melodic genius

Published: November 18, 2013

Jim McGillivray continues his exclusive series with a look at the music of James Hill, “The Hornpipe King” of Northumberland. Little-known to Highland pipers, Hill was a fiddler originally from Scotland who gained renown in the first half of the 1800s. Not many of his compositions have been picked up for Highland pipes, but “The High Level” and “The Hawk” are known for their cheerful and soaring melodies. Included are sound files by Northumbrian piper Pauline Cato and McGillivray on the Deger pipe.

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TIP OF THE DAY
Pipers: Need to manipulate your pipe chanter reed? – use a pen knife or Xacto knife instead of sandpaper. You have much more control on the amount of cane you take off with a knife vs. sandpaper. And it is much better for the cane itself; other woodworkers call this technique “feathering.”
Donald MacPhee, reedmaker, Alexandria, Scotland